Buddha Story 8: Sujata’s Porridge
In the previous episodes, we learned about the early life of Gautama Buddha, about the great renunciation of Lord Buddha & about the Buddha’s journey in search of truth.
Sujata (Sujātā), was the daughter of Senani a rich man from a village named Sena in Uruvela’s forest area. She had immense faith in a tree-deity. She was certain that her successful marriage to a businessman of Varanasi was because of the blessings of this tree god. She also felt that the birth of her son twenty years ago was also due to the blessings of this tree-deity. So every year she returned home to worship the tree-deity on the full moon night of Vesāka.
This year Sujata prepared delicious khīra (milk porridge) to offer to the tree-deity. She sent her maid to the tree to clean the place. When the maid saw the attractive personality and radiant face of ascetic prince Siddhattha meditating under the tree, she felt that the tree-deity had taken this physical form to receive her mistress’s offerings.
Sujata came to the tree with her khīra in a golden vessel to offer to the tree deity. However, she immediately realized that it was not the tree deity but a recluse. She offered him the khīra and was delighted when he accepted it.
She offered him the khīra and showered her blessings on him with the words, ‘May your meditation be fruitful.’ This was Siddhattha’s last meal as the Bodhisatta. He attained enlightenment the next night and hence, this offering of food is considered to be of great importance. Also dana to Buddha is also of the greatest Punya parmies (greatest merit) for Sujata.
In the next episode, we would learn about the five dreams before becoming Buddha.